Oct. 26, 2017 – Earlier this month, 22 pilgrims traveled with the USA Northeast Province to Spain and southern France to follow in the footsteps of Jesuit Sts. Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier, and St. Bernadette.
Fr. George Witt, SJ, provincial assistant for spirituality ministries for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces of the Society of Jesus, led the group in spiritual direction. James Skurka, interim provincial assistant for advancement and communications for the USA Northeast Province, was the pilgrimage coordinator.
The 11-day journey included visits to popular pilgrimage sites including the homes where Sts. Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier lived as young noble men, the cave at Manresa where St. Ignatius wrote his Spiritual Exercises, the birthplace of St. Peter Claver in Verdu, Spain, and the shrine in Lourdes where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.
For the pilgrims, these stops proved to be profound religious experiences. “The Spiritual Exercises are so intricately tied to our mission and the charism of the Jesuits. Seeing the birthplace of our founder, St. Ignatius, and the places where he and the early Jesuits established the roots of the Society was inspirational,” said Skurka. “I was left feeling deeply grateful for the spirituality that guides our faith, and very humbled to have spent such a wonderful time together with the other pilgrims.”